Friday, March 11, 2011

Stand up against Arizona-type racial profiling and immigration laws

Dear Friends:

I am writing to ask for your participation in and support of a week of activities to show a united community front against Arizona-type racial profiling and immigration laws in the state of Florida.

As you probably know, the Florida Legislature, in the upcoming session, will consider a number of bills that are copycats of Arizona's infamous SB 1070. At this point 8 different bills have been filed, and more are expected before Legislature convenes its annual regular session next week.

These provisions in these bills include:

  • requiring the police to verify immigration status of persons during a legal stop if "reasonable suspicion" exists that they are undocumented
  • requiring jails to determine the immigration status of all detainees and police to enter into 287g agreements with ICE to enforce immigration law
  • prohibiting any state or local agency to limit in any way immigration law enforcement or inter-agency sharing of immigration status information, and giving any legal resident of the state the right to sue if an agency is in violation of this provision
  • state sanctions, including fines and jail time, for legal immigrants who don't carry their original immigration documents in public
  • making all employers use the federal E-Verify employment verification data base, with suspension of an employer's business license for knowingly hiring an undocumented person.

We have a great chance of defeating these bills. The Florida Immigrant Coalition and its member organizations have done a great job mobilizing people to hearings, and the bills have encountered significant business opposition. In other areas of the state there has been more press coverage favorable to our side than in Miami, including an in-depth series in the Naples News and an excellent editorial in today's Palm Beach Post (

However, we cannot take anything for granted. Any of these provisions would be potentially devastating for our community if passed, especially given that no positive immigration reform is forthcoming from the federal government.

WeCount! is organizing a week of activities from Saturday, March 19 through Thursday, March 26 to educate the community about the dangers of these bills, and to show broad community opposition to these bills and support for an inclusive, diverse community. We are calling it "We Are Homestead - Somos Homestead - Nou se Homestead."

Scheduled events:

  • Women's and Children's March

Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 5:00 pm

First Methodist Church (marching to Losner Park)

622 North Krome Avenue

Homestead, FL

  • Cultural Night

Saturday, March 19, 2011 from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm

Losner Park

622 North Krome Avenue

Homestead, FL

  • Soccer Match

Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Soccer field located behind Homestead Middle School

Cross streets:

  • Community Forum

Monday, March 21, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Everglades Village Community Center

19308 SW 380th Street

Florida City, FL

  • Interfaith Service

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm

First Methodist Church

622 North Krome Avenue

Homestead, FL

  • 2 Movie Nights:

Monday, March 21, 2011 at 12:00 noon

Film: “Abused: The Postville Raid”

Miami Dade College – Homestead Campus

400 College Terrace

Homestead, FL

Wednesday March 23, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Film: “La Misma Luna”

We-Count! Office

201-207 North Krome Avenue

Homestead, FL

We are asking for your support for these events by helping to publicize them and encouraging people to participate. If you are interested in participating in any of the events please contact the WeCount! Organizer:

Lis-Marie Alvarado at or call: 786-523-2805

Get Educated on Education: MDCPS Budget Issues

Miami Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) will have to make some "bone cutting" decisions if the state budget does not take action to find ways to keep the same funding amount for education.

Since 2007-08 school year, MDCPS’ total budget has shrunk from $6.3 billion to $4.3 billion -- a $2 billion decrease. Further reductions will affect the progress MDCPS is experiencing in building a world class educational system. The time for action is now. We are asking for you to get educated on education and the key education budget issues as our state legislature meets on the state budget.

Here are the three major issues affecting our local public education budget:

Provide level funding/replacement of federal stimulus funds

$907 million to sunset June 30, 2011 statewide

$121 million to sunset June 30, 2011 for Miami-Dade County Public Schools

2000 Miami-Dade school district jobs in jeopardy

Eliminate penalties associated with class-size reduction non-compliance

School districts should not be penalized for non-compliance, not a constitutional requirement

Address inequity of education funding formula for urban schools

Loss of District Cost Differential and the addition of the Compression Adjustment in the education funding formula diminishes adequate funding to urban school districts

Miami Dade County Schools receives $118 less per student in state funds than the state average

Miami Dade County citizens pay in $200 in taxes more on average to the state on a per student basis towards educating a child than the average taxpayer statewide

Here is what you can do:

Get Educated on Education - click on the following link to hear and see a prerecorded webinar explaining the above issues

Email your appropriate state legislator to express your support for the "Hold Public Education Harmless" issues (see attached pdfs with legislator by school and email addresses)

MiamiFLCOC_1898_MDCPS budget-facts


MiamiFLCOC_1897_2011 session - Email contact list- Miami-Dade County Legislative Delegation, 2-3-11

Forward this email to your employees, colleagues, family and friends

Thank you,

Maria C. Alonso Marilu Kernan Rafael SaldaƱa

Chairman Education Committee Chair Education Committee Vice-Chair

ACT Now to Save Service

Congratulations Florida!

During Save Service District Day on February 25, hundreds of Floridians participated by visiting 24 of our 25 U.S. House members' district offices and both of our U.S. Senators' district offices.


Now we need your continued help. Our next big Action Step is next Tuesday, March 15th. This will be an all out effort to call every member of Congress to ask them to Save Service. See more details in the section below.

Call Congress on March 15

These are messages you can share with members of Congress! They won't know if we don't tell them!

Did you know that more than 74,000 people of all ages and backgrounds participate in Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, or Learn and Serve programs in Florida?

These participants work in hundreds of Florida schools and with more than 2,300 national and local nonprofits, faith-based organizations and other groups like Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs, Catholic Charities, Communities in Schools and Florida's State Parks.

Florida's national service participants have an even greater impact by recruiting tens of thousands of volunteers to work alongside them every year.

And, over $7 million in Florida is invested from private, foundation, or other nonfederal sources to support these federal funds because Floridians understand that these programs have real value and impact in our state.

Please forward to your friends and colleagues and let our voices be heard!

Got stories? Register today for Half in Ten's webinar on practical tips for effective storybanking

Join Half in Ten and storybanking experts for a webinar on March 14 to learn more about how to effectively use stories for advocacy. The webinar will cover the fundamentals of storybanking, what makes a good story, best practices for submitting your story to our storybank, and how to leverage stories with members of Congress and the media. Register today!